January 9, 2019

Speaker Heastie Statement on Assembly Majority's Agenda: The Legislation We Have Championed for Years is Finally Within Reach

Today, my colleagues and I in the Assembly Majority opened the 2019 Legislative Session, and while we are confident this year will bring real change for New Yorkers, many of the ideas that have recently taken center stage have long been priorities in the People's House.

New York is a trailblazer for the nation on so many issues that have been nurtured and developed by the hard work of the Assembly Majority. For years, we fought for a higher minimum wage because we believe that no one who works a full-time job should live in poverty. In 2016, our persistence paid off with legislation to deliver annual incremental statewide wage increases. That same year, we made paid family leave a reality for every hardworking New Yorker.

At times, we have had to fight tough battles to keep New York from falling behind. In 2017, our loud voices helped correct an injustice facing our youth by raising the age of adult criminal responsibility – just one of the many criminal justice reforms we have passed numerous times.

Year after year, we fought tooth and nail for each of these victories, and still countless pieces of progressive legislation were stalled in the Republican controlled Senate. But this past November, voters gave Democrats their largest majority in the State Senate in a century. They too want to move New York forward.

With our new partners in the Senate, we will take swift action to deliver the progressive legislation we have long sought for New York families. The list is long and ambitious:

My colleagues and I look forward to collaborating with Senate Democrats to address a myriad of other issues facing the state. Together, we must find common sense solutions to protect New Yorkers from gun violence. We must address equitable funding for our neediest schools, and continue to ensure higher education is affordable for all New Yorkers.

New Yorkers need adequate housing, reliable transportation and good jobs. Hardworking families need affordable child care. With our partners in the Senate, we must tackle the tough issues like finding sustainable funding for the MTA and meeting the needs of our upstate transit systems. We will not forget that our upstate communities need economic development and job creation. We will work together to make our families first agenda a reality.

The Assembly Majority is a body of progressive leaders. Our ideas have long been bold and visionary. We look forward to working with our partners in the new Senate Majority to make them a reality.